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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 April 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


 

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

1. The migrant workers’ plight during the lockdown has exposed the inadequacies of the legal safeguards available to them. Analyse.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

Seasonal migration is an important issue of our time and the COVID-19 crisis has brought the issue of migration to the centre stage of public discourse. The migrant workers’ plight during the lockdown has exposed the inadequacies of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the loopholes and lacunae in the legal safeguards available to the migrant workers in the country; suggest what needs to be done to address the situation.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss who constitute migrant workers; what the provisions available to them are.

Body:

To start with, explain the concerns associated with the very definition of migrant workers in the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979. Discuss various legal provisions and framework available to them. Hint towards policies that were directed specifically for them yet had loopholes. Suggest measures to address the issue.

Conclusion:
Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Thousands of migrant labourers have headed home on foot after national lockdown, which has created an acute shortage of labourers in major agrarian states. The inter-State migrant worker community, thousands of these migrant labourers have been leaving cities, even on foot, for their towns in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and elsewhere

Body:

The migrant workers’ plight during the lockdown has exposed the inadequacies of the laws available for the migrant workers:

Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979:

  • Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 (ISMW Act) was drawn up after repealing the Orissa Dadan Labour Act, 1975.
  • The ISMW Act defines inter-State migrant workman as any person who is recruited by or through a contractor.

The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security (UWSS) Act, 2008

  • This act was enacted to provide for social security and welfare of unorganised workers.
  • The Act defines unorganised workers as home-based worker, self-employed worker or wage worker in the unorganised sector.
  • The UWSS Act itself has two very vitally useful features, viz., (a) Registration of unorganised workers, and (b) Portable smart I-card with a Unique Worker’s Identification Number.

Loopholes in the legal safeguards:

  • The definition of a migrant as per the ISMW Act keeps away any migrant workman out of the ambit if he is not brought in through a licensed contractor.
  • It is common knowledge that most of the migrant workmen are not routed through licensed contractors.
  • This small catch, in the definition, has been sufficient to exclude bulk of the migrant workmen from getting any benefit out of the Act.
  • Furthermore, the Act is only applicable to any establishment in which five or more inter-State migrant workmen are employed.
  • In reality, only a minuscule proportion of migrant workmen are placed under such establishments these days.
  • So, if the establishment doesn’t come under the purview of the Act, its migrant employees, numbering less than five, cease to be migrants, legally, even though they may actually be one.

However, the Government of India has, in the recent past, introduced a host of social security schemes:

  • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana is meant to ensure old age protection for unorganised workers.
  • Atal Pension Yojana has been launched under the National Pension System.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana is a life insurance scheme.
  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana is an accident insurance scheme.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana aims at providing health cover.
  • The coverage of these useful provisions and schemes, however, is still sub-optimal thereby making the need for legal safeguards and welfare measures for migrants has become pressing and urgent.

Way forward:

  • Repealing of the ISMW Act, 1979 forthwith and replacing it with a new act, or alternatively, enlarging the scope of the UWSS Act to include legal entitlements, to define the migrant workman as a subset, to provide for contingencies of livelihood loss and to make the Act legally enforceable.
  • Universalisation of registration and issuance of Aadhaar-based UWIN (Unique Worker’s Identification No.) would serve multiple objectives.
  • Schemes like MNREGA, PDS and Ujjwala need to be made portable.
  • Geofencing of different benefits can be done so that a migrant workman can choose location-wise benefits for himself and his family from a matrix available.
  • A comprehensive database must be created, of the migrant workers’ source and destination, demography, employment patterns and skill sets.
  • It would help in skill development and providing for social security benefits.
  • It would also be useful in planning for mass transit of migrant labour, and preparing for any contingency plan in abnormal situations.

Conclusion:

Issues related to migrant workmen have complex Centre-State and inter-State dimensions. The Inter-State Council, set up under Article 263 of the Constitution, may be a more appropriate forum to effectively and comprehensively deal with larger issues related to migrant workmen. It’s time to initiate a legal platform that means business to the migrant workmen, and replace the antiquated law of 1979 that seems to have outlived its utility. The entitlements and benefits for the migrant workers have an unquestionable economic, legal and moral basis. There is a need for the policymakers to ensure a better legal framework which doesn’t leave the migrant workers high and dry yet again during tough situations.

 

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

2. Discuss the conditions of Tribal Women in India, also bring out the efforts of the government to improve their conditions.(250 words)

Reference: shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in 

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and aims to analyse the conditions of tribal women in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the conditions of Tribal Women in India; also bring out the efforts of the government to improve their conditions.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Tribal women are among the most vulnerable people in India. They are faced with a double discrimination of being tribal and being women within the tribal households.

Body:

To start with, state facts that justify the dismal condition of tribal women in the country. Basic amenities are completely absent from tribal settlements. Absence of electricity and basic sanitation facilities impacts the women the most. Only 15.2 per cent of ST households have drinking water which further spells out the burden on the women. Discuss different dimensions like education, availability of rights on lands, lack of legal safeguards, low human resource development etc. Discuss policy measures of the governments from past to present in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done to better their conditions and mainstream them inclusively in the agenda of growth and overall development.

Introduction:

Tribals or adivasis, as they are popularly known as a symbol of self-assertion, comprise of around 8.2 per cent of the national population. The tribals are concentrated mostly in the central belt of India and parts of the North-East. The status of women in the tribal societies is comparatively better than that of the women in general society—apparently so. The sex ratio of the tribes in India during 1991 showed 971 females per 1000 males while it was 927 females among the general population.

Body:

Conditions of Tribal women in India:

  • The tribal women, constitute like any other social group, about half of the total population. The tribal women, as women in all social groups, are more illiterate than men.
  • Role of women is not only of importance in economic activities, but her role in non-economic activities is equally important. The tribal women work very hard, in some cases even more than the men.
  • Mitra and Singh write that discrimination against women, occupational differentiation, and emphasis on status and hierarchical social ordering that characterise the predominant Hindu culture are generally absent among the tribal groups.
  • Bhasin (2007) also writes that though tribes too have son preference, they do not discriminate against girls by female infanticide or sex determination tests.
  • The status of tribal women can be judged mainly by the roles they play in society. Their roles are determined to a large extent through the system of descent.
  • Most of the tribes in India follow a patrilinear system. There are exceptional cases like the Khasi, Jaintia, Garo and Lalung of Meghalaya in the North-East who follow the matrilineal system. The Mappilas of Kerala too are a matrilineal community.
  • Since women in the tribal communities’ toil hard, they are considered to be assets. Not surprisingly, the practice of bride price during marriages is quite common among them.
  • The tribal women in the North-East were famous for their weaving skills. Almost every tribal girl used to learn weaving at home. They usually used to weave in their leisure time and for self-consumption.
  • Tribal women as such enjoy very little control over immovable property. They hardly ever inherit land, particularly in the patrilineal societies.

Some of the problems faced by tribal women are:

  • Despite several economic, political and social changes, women, are still far behind.
  • Primitive Economy results in overburdening of women. They are exposed to wild animals, poisonous vegetation as a cost of survival (women are known to actively participate in economy)
  • Cultural Practices – Numerous practices like genital mutilation are disastrous to the physical and mental health of women.
  • Health: Malnutrition, anaemia, lack of access to healthcare & proper medicines, lack of literacy & education opportunities, low empowerment & sense of independence
  • Sexual Exploitation – A number of complaints regarding officials committing sexual offences have come to light. (especially Naxalite area)
  • Isolation – Prevents women to take up education or benefit from government policies like maternity benefit, reservation etc.
  • Financial exploitation by money lenders.
  • Male migration leading to feminization of agriculture and poverty.
  • Tribal migrant women face issues of low wages, bad work conditions, malnutrition, unhygienic sanitation, cramped housing.

Government measures:

  • Reservation of seats and relaxation in marks in admission to educational institutions, scholarships,
  • Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana-with special focus on o the qualitative and sustainable employment for tribal families, Improving the quality of education and health and improving the quality of life in tribal areas.
  • Single Window System for Obtaining Market Information on Minor Forest Produces,
  • Setting up of Eklavya Model Residential Schools, & Tribal Research Institutes, which undertake intensive studies of tribal arts, culture and customs.
  • Access to marketing, ex: women’s part time job is to collect minor forest product like honey, resins, herbs etc. has brought income security among many tribal
  • Tribal women of North East are self-employed, border e-Haat has added colour to their life.
  • PESA extended to tribal areas are testimonial for the success of democratic decentralisation besides 33% reservation.
  • Infrastructure facilities like providing toilets under SBM. Etc.
  • Stand Up India Mission which is dedicated to SCs/STs and Women would fetch good opportunities.
  • Democratic Decentralization in Tribal areas would ensure their participation at the political level.

Conclusion:

Integration of tribals into mainstream economy is important for inclusive development. A women centric approach can help achieve this goal. Hence, problems of tribal women should be taken into consideration when undertaking planning.

 

Topic:  Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. Examine and review the safeguards provided by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).(250 words)

Reference: Indian polity by Lakshmikant, Times Of India 

Why this question:

336% increase in child rape cases from 2001 to 2011. Figures are under reported as majority of child rape cases are not reported to the police. 9/10 rapes and sexual assaults are carried out by people known to the victim. Insensitivity and unhelpful attitude of police, lawyers and untrained hospital staff makes prosecution and conviction difficult.

Key demand of the question:

Examine and review the safeguards provided by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly describe the coming of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) into existence.

Body:

To start with, explain that the Ministry has enacted the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act (CPCR), 2005, extending pan-India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir, under which National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is mandated to function for protection and promotion of child rights. Discuss the functions and powers of the NCPCR. Its roles and responsibilities. Discuss concerns and challenges if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is a statutory body established in 2007 under an act of Parliament, the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005. The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years’ age group. The Commission is also mandated with responsibilities under two other acts, namely the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and Right to Education Act, 2009.

Body:

The NCPCR has recently written to the education departments of states and union territories to ensure that during the lockdown no child should be subjected to any kind of harassment from school authorities on account of payment of school fee.

Functions and Powers:

The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:

  • Examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law for the time being in force for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation.
  • Present to be central government, annually and at such other intervals, as the commission may deem fit, reports upon working of those safeguards;
  • Inquire into violation of child rights and recommend initiation of proceedings in such cases;
  • Examine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children affected by terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disaster, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, maltreatment, torture and exploitation, pornography and prostitution and recommend appropriate remedial measures;
  • Look into matters relating to children in need of special care and protection, including children in distress, marginalised and disadvantaged children, children in conflict with law, juveniles, children without family and children of prisoners and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
  • Study treaties and other international instruments and undertake periodic review of existing policies, programmes, and other activities on child rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation in the best interest of children.
  • Undertake and promote research in the field of child rights.
  • Spread child rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for protection of these rights through publications, media, seminars and other available means.
  • Inspect or cause to be inspected any juvenile custodial home or any other place of residence or institution meant for children, under the control of the Central Government or any State Government or any other authority including any institution run by a social organization, where children are detained or lodged for the purpose of treatment, reformation or protection and take up with these authorities for remedial action, if found necessary.
  • Inquire into complaints and take suo moto notice of matters related to:
    • Deprivation and violation of child rights.
    • Non implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children.
    • Non compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships to and ensuring welfare of the children and to provide relief to such children or take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities
  • Such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of child rights and any other matter incidental to the above functions.

Appraisal of NCPCR:

  • Positives:
    • The positive role of National Commission for the protection of child rights has been reported many a time. For example, in 2007, it took initiatives to protect school children from harsh corporal punishments
    • The involvement and assistance of Panchayat Raj Institution in child protection matters with the commission has made commendable results. For example, in Meghalaya, 132 cases of children missing were reported through the initiative of local Panchayats
    • Another notable, instance is that the NCPCR had submitted its reports towards the strategies for protection of child rights especially for abolition of child labour in Eleventh plan.
    • Again, the commission has started a helpline on education in the light of the rights of children free and compulsory education act, 2009.
    • In another instance, on a complaint filed by a local college student, of Nawanshahr, the NCPCR has asked the chief election commissioner of India to issue necessary instructions to the authorities concerned 
  • Challenges/Concerns against NCPCR:
    • the main drawback of the Child Rights Commission is that it is a mere replica of other commissions like Human Rights Commission and Women’s Commission.
    • Its role is limited to just recommendatory directives and they lack any power to enforce their recommendations.
    • There is   no   time   frame   for   the   completion   of   the   enquiries   or investigations.
    • The time limit, within which the state governments have to set up their own commissions, has not been specifically stipulated.
    • The offices of the commissions should be structured at the lower levels like district and panchayat levels so that any child or children’s group can have access to the office of the commission and should have the opportunity to impart their own participation
    • The NCPCR has been criticized by activists for allegedly turning a blind eye to police brutalities following the crackdown on protesters holding demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, in U.P. and Delhi.
    • The Supreme Court recently ordered the Centre, the NCPCR and its arms in New Delhi and U.P. to submit a report on detention of children in jails, calling such actions as a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.

Conclusion:

The NCPCR play key role in protect, promote and defend child rights in the country.  The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programs, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Commission visualizes a rights-based perspective flowing into National Policies and Programs, along with nuanced responses at the State, District and Block levels, taking care of specificities and strengths of each region.  In order to touch every child, it seeks a deeper penetration to communities and households and expects that the ground experiences inform the support the field receives from all the authorities at the higher level.

 

Topic:  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora. India and its neighborhood- relations.

4. The admitting of the observer status for India in the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is an opportune move that offers ample opportunities for a mutually beneficial relationship between the IOC member countries and India. Elaborate.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question:

India has been recently granted observer status in the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the impact of such a status granted to India and the opportunities that it brings with it to build mutually beneficial relationship between the IOC member countries and India.

Directive:

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the context of the question.

Body:

To start with, discuss the aspects of maritime security in the Indian ocean region. Discuss the role of Indian Ocean Commission till date; Regional Maritime security architecture, Promoting collaboration in the region etc. Explain how it proves to be a Mutually beneficial association. Highlight India’s interests.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India has repeatedly stated its strategic vision for the Indian Ocean based on Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) approach. Such an opportunity would mean more consultative, democratic and equitable engagements in dealing with smaller but equally significant countries in the region.

Introduction:

The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is an intergovernmental body created in 1984 to protect the interests of the Western Indian Ocean islands. It consists of Madagascar, Comoros, La Reunion (French overseas territory), Mauritius and Seychelles. India has been accepted as an observer of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). India’s joining of the IOC as an observer has strategic importance as the Commission is an important regional institution in the Western/African Indian Ocean. This development is one of the steps in India’s strategic vision (SAGAR) for the Indian Ocean.

Body:

Significance of an Observer Status of India:

  • Engagement with the Western Indian Ocean:
    • It will facilitate collective engagement with the islands in the Western Indian Ocean that are becoming strategically significant.
    • Given China’s growing presence in the region, India will be able to increase its naval presence and gain support for its maritime projects across the Indo-Pacific.
    • The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is also a strategic location of the Indian Ocean linking the South-eastern coast of Africa to the wider Indian Ocean and beyond.
  • Opportunity in the Mozambique Channel:
    • The IOC islands are situated around one of the key chokepoints in the Indian Ocean- the Mozambique Channel.
    • The Mozambique Channel is an arm of the Indian Ocean located between the African countries of Madagascar and Mozambique.
    • The Mozambique Channel lost its significance post the opening of the Suez Canal, but the recent hostilities near the Strait of Hormuz brought the channel back into focus as the original route for bigger commercial vessels (especially for oil tankers).
    • Potential of natural gas reserves in the Mozambique Channel further increases the significance of the region.
  • Cooperation with France:
    • It will also help to boost cooperation with France that has a strong presence in the western Indian ocean.
  • SAGAR Policy:
    • It will help to extend India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) policy in the region.
    • SAGAR is an articulation of India’s vision for the Indian Ocean which aims for enhancement of capacities to safeguard land and maritime territories & interests; deepening economic and security cooperation in the littoral; action to deal with natural disasters and maritime threats like piracy, terrorism.

Challenges associated:

  • The ‘Global Commons’ approach (everyone’s property is no one’s responsibility) to using marine resources, especially in areas beyond national jurisdiction, with no oversight on issues of governance, access and benefit sharing.
  • It poses a risk for overexploitation of marine resources.
  • SAGAR Vision has created engagement of multiple players, the duplication of actions, and regional dependence on international navies.

India’s possible contribution to IOC:

  • The 2018 joint strategic vision for India-France cooperation in the Indian Ocean region– released during the visit of French president Emmanuel Macron – specifically mentions that France would support India’s entry in the IOC as an observer and in return India had supported a “greater role” for France in the bigger Indian Ocean Rim Association.
  • In 2019, the MEA got a brand-new Indo-Pacific division to reflect the priority given to the region and bring about a sense of coherence within its various regions. The division also looked after the multilateral linkages in the region and would likely look after the enhanced IOC portfolio.
  • With the observer status, India can extend its expertise to the region, put its satellite imagery to the service of the RMIFC, and establish links with its own Information Fusion Centre.
  • As a major stakeholder in the Indian Ocean with maritime security high on the agenda, India will continue to pursue its interests and tackle maritime security challenges at the macro level in the region. However, as an observer of the IOC, India can embrace bottom-up regionalism to establish relations in Western Indian Ocean.
  • IOC observer status will strengthen western flank of the Indo-Pacific and is a stepping stone to security cooperation with East Africa.

Conclusion:

 India’s consultative, democratic and equitable leadership can help achieve the Security and sustainable growth to all in the region. Apart from it, India must also lead in ensuring Sustainability and Growth for All in the Region.

 

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6. Name and describe the theories of right action.(250 words)

Reference:  Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of ‘Right Action’.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the various theories relating to the concept of right action in ethics.

Directive:

Describe – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Right actions are the ones that produce the greatest satisfaction of the preferences of the affected persons.

Body:

To start with, explain the significance of right action. Name the different theories propounded by ethical and moral thinkers. Explain – Utilitarian Theory of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, Duty Ethics of Kant etc. Discuss that Right actions are the ones that produce the greatest satisfaction of the preferences of the affected persons. Highlight the advantages and disadvantages.

Conclusion:

Conclude with relevance of such a concept even in contemporary times.

Introduction:

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves questions about morality and the perception of good and evil, of right and wrong, of justice, virtue, and vice. Right actions are the ones that produce the greatest satisfaction of the preferences of the affected persons.

Body:

Descriptive Ethics:

  • Descriptive ethics deals with what people actually believe (or made to believe) to be right or wrong, and accordingly holds up the human actions acceptable or not acceptable or punishable under a custom or law.
  • However, customs and laws keep changing from time to time and from society to society.
  • The societies have structured their moral principles as per changing time and have expected people to behave accordingly.
  • Due to this, descriptive ethics is also called comparative ethics because it compares the ethics or past and present; ethics of one society and other. It also takes inputs from other disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, sociology and history to explain the moral right or wrong.

Normative Ethics:

  • Normative Ethics deals with “norms” or set of considerations how one should act.
  • Thus, it’s a study of “ethical action” and sets out the rightness or wrongness of the actions.
  • It is also called prescriptive ethics because it rests on the principles which determine whether an action is right or wrong.
  • The Golden rule of normative ethics is “doing to other as we want them to do to us “.

Utilitarianism:

  • It focuses on the purpose of each action and whether there is an intention or meaning for the action.
  • It deals with the consequences of an action.
  • It involves examining past experiences in order to figure out the results of present actions.
  • The most common forms of Consequentialism are the various versions of utilitarianism, which favours actions that produce the greatest amount of happiness.
  • An example of act utilitarianism is a pharmaceutical company releasing a drug that has been governmentally approved with known side effects because the drug is able to help more people than are bothered by the minor side effects. Act utilitarianism often shows “the end justifies the means” mentality.

Duty or Deontological Ethics:

  • Deontological (duty-based) theories are of the view that morality of an action is solely dependent on the quality of action. i.e., whether it follows a rule, irrespective of the consequences of that action. Consequences do NOT matter.
  • It is an approach to ethics that addresses whether the motives behind certain actions are right or wrong instead of focusing on whether the results of the action are right or wrong.
  • It is based on each individual’s duty or obligation towards each other, all living things, and the environment based on moral beliefs and values.
  • It teaches about always acting in good faith and adheres to the Golden Rule to treat others the way you want to be treated by them.
  • Morality depends only on the intension behind the act.
  • An example of deontological theory is Kant’s Duty Ethics proposed by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).
  • According to him, the morality of an action is based on the rightness or wrongness of the action itself, not on the consequence of the action. As rational beings we must follow certain maxims and rules.

Virtue Ethics:

  • Virtue Ethics (or Virtue Theory) are normative ethical theories which emphasize virtues of mind, character and sense of honesty.
  • It is an approach to Ethics that emphasizes an individual’s character as the key element of ethical thinking, rather than rules about the acts themselves (Deontology) or their consequences (Consequentialism).
  • For example, it is virtuous to be courageous when faced with physical confrontation. But an excess courage will tend to make a person reckless whereas a total lack of it makes him a coward.

Meta Ethics:

  • Meta Ethics or “analytical ethics” deals with the origin of the ethical concepts themselves.
  • It does not consider whether an action is good or bad, right or wrong. Rather, it questions – what goodness or rightness or morality itself is?
  • It is basically a highly abstract way of thinking about ethics.
  • The key theories in meta-ethics include naturalism, non-naturalism, emotivism and prescriptivism

Applied Ethics:

  • Applied ethics deals with the philosophical examination, from a moral standpoint, of particular issues in private and public life which are matters of moral judgment.
  • This branch of ethics is most important for professionals in different walks of life including doctors, teachers, administrators, rulers and so on.
  • There are six key domains of applied ethics viz. Decision ethics {ethical decision making process}, Professional ethics {for good professionalism}, Clinical Ethics {good clinical practices}, Business Ethics {good business practices}, Organizational ethics {ethics within and among organizations} and social ethics.
  • It deals with the rightness or wrongness of social, economic, cultural, religious issues also. For example, euthanasia, child labour, abortion etc.

Conclusion:

Right action is when the right people do right thing for right reasons at the right time. That about sums up success – Roberta Shaler.

 

Topic:   Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7. Critically assess the claim that people are free to make moral decisions.(250 words)

Reference:  Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the ability of people to freely make moral decisions.

Key demand of the question:

One must assess the claim that people are free to make moral decisions and provide opinion with suitable justifications.

Directive:

Critically assess – When asked to assess, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the context of the question.

Body:

Often, it seems that we make moral decisions almost automatically, and there are occasions when we need to make moral decisions more carefully. It may be because the choices before us involve conflicting values, uncertainty or doubt, peer pressure, or possible negative consequences. Discuss opinions of various scholars, ethical and moral thinkers in this regard. Present examples and suggest your viewpoints.

Conclusion:
Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:

At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles that determines how people make decisions and lead their lives. Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy. The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition.

Body:

Ethics deals the following dilemmas:

  • how to live a good life?
  • our rights and responsibilities
  • the language of right and wrong
  • Moral decisions – what is good and bad?

People’s freedom to make moral decisions will fail during the following situations:

  • Lack of free will: The relationship between human freedom and moral behaviour is a crucial one since it is mostly accepted that our freedom to perform a morally good action or to refrain from a bad one, is a vital part in the way we evaluate an action.
  • Situations and contexts: In everyday life, we may not notice that our morals are context-dependent since our contexts tend to stay the same daily. However, under new circumstances, we may find that the moral rules we thought we’d always follow are actually quite malleable
  • Ignorance: Ignorance is the absence of knowledge, the state of being unaware. If an act is done through ignorance, it goes out of the realm of judgment of ethics. For instance, a foreigner who is unaware of the societal laws and norms, if violated the norms through such ignorance, the action is not a human action.
  • Passion: Passions are powerful emotions of anger, grief, love, hatred or greed. Some passions precede an act of the will and cause the will to act. As per moral thinkers, it is human will and reason that holds human passions under check. However, when overpowered by emotions, such as a sudden rage or a fit of anger, it destroys the use of reason, an individual loses control over his will, thus also destroy the voluntariness of the action.
  • Violence: Violence is the external physical force exerted on a person. When a person offers all the resistance he can, actions done in these circumstances are involuntary and therefore, not human actions. For instance, a man may be driven into involuntary acts under the threat of violence against himself or his loved ones. In a case of bank robbery if the robber holds the gun to the cashier’s head and the cashier parts with money, evidently the cashier’s act is involuntary. He incurs no guilt for the act, though he did hand over the cash physically.
  • There are also some other impediments to human actions like habit, temperament, and psychological states (such as mental illness, psychoneurosis, psychosis, schizophrenia, etc.), substance abuse (actions under the intoxication of drugs or alcohol) that may sometimes interfere with voluntariness, in that they blur knowledge and weaken the will. However, though they lessen the voluntariness of actions, but never destroy it.

Conclusion:

Since all human actions occur at a certain time and at a certain place, the circumstances must always be considered in evaluating the moral quality of any human act. Meanwhile, it must be understood that ‘a morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together’. If any one of the three is evil, then the human act in question is evil and should be avoided